Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Blame the Breed or the Deed? Breed Specific Laws in America

Our Personal Favorite Pitbull Terrier: Tater Tot!

 For most pet owners, it's a regular luxury to wake up and incorporate our dog into our day's plan to some degree. Whether it be by taking him on a walk before work, picking up some of their favorite treats at the local dog store, giving them a bath, or just laying on the couch watching our favorite episode of Friends together. However for some people this is not a luxury they can take part in, all because of one ignorant slap of political legislation.

I am talking about BSL (Breed Specific Legislation) or as I like to call it "breed discrimination."

Now most of us have heard the stories about BSL that involve larger dog breeds such as American Pit Bull Terriers, Rottweilers, or German Shepherds. However, these are not the only breeds that come in to play when discussing BSL. I would assume the type of people who endorse breed specific legislation are people who have had bad situations with a certain breed, or just have nothing better to do than to stir the pot of political absurdities. The main purpose of banning a breed is said to lower and prevent dog bites/ attacks. Despite that view, in doing a little research on areas that outlaw certain breeds you will find that the rate of bites/ attacks stay generally the same. This means that the only thing this legislation has changed, is the number of families who have a loving family dog.

A dog can be banned for two separate reasons in lawful rulings. It can either be processed by a local ordinance who ban a breed by breed type alone, or also by a certain description (such as if a dog has a stocky build and a short coat with bulldog type features, or any mix of words they decide to include.)

However, bans are not the only laws they can enforce on an owner with a certain dog.
There can be implementations of:
-Dog city registration: The city would know what kind of dog you have and would inform the neighborhood to be wary of your "dangerous" dog.
-Dog Sterilization- Enforcement of spaying/neutering your pooch so that reproduction of that breed in the area is less likely (All at owner's cost of course)
-Impossible dog insurance requirements which if not obtained, forces owners to either surrender the dog to the city to be put down, or move out of the area.
-Weight/Size restrictions which is in enforcement in Iowa: a dog can not be over 100lbs
-forced micro chipping at owner's expense

The more I read about breed specific legislation the more ridiculous the idea is to me. I would like to think that our government is founded on a justice system that is based on situational analyses only, even for laws pertaining to our dogs.

I imagine a few people out there are reading this interested, but unworried because they have a smaller breed dog that would most likely not be effected by BSL.
Well it seems BSL has a few more victims on its list. Airedales, Akitas, Alaskan Malamutes, German Shepherds, Bulldogs, Huskys, Australian Cattle Dogs & Australian Shepherds, Sheepdogs, Blue Heelers, Borzois, Boston Terriers, Boxers, Bull Terriers, Catahoulas, SharPeis, Chows, Dobermans, English Mastiffs, Springer Spaniels, Eskimo Dogs, Fox Terriers, Golden Retrievers, Great Danes, Great Pyrenees, Labradors, Newfoundlands, Pugs, Saint Bernards, and Scotties are all dogs that at one time or another have been banned in certain areas by breed specific legislation.

If you do a little research on the topic you're bound to find sad stories/ classified ads/ rants that involve a family having to give up their favorite family dog because legislation has deemed them unworthy of living in their own home.

This type of breed character stereotyping is something that I'm sure everyone has experienced in one form or another whether it be about your dog having aggression, hyper activity, or any other deemed trait simply because of it's breed.

I know our local R.A.S. Pit Bull Rescue out of Lumberton, Texas (Their facebook link can be found on our RESCUES page) understand that its more about responsible ownership rather than the breed alone.

Luckily in Texas right now (hopefully permanently), there are laws that prevent BSL put in place by local ordinances. It definitely puts things into perspective and I'm glad we live in a state where we have the luxury of waking up and planning a day that involves our dog whether he/she be a Miniature Chihuahua or a Giant Great Dane. Once again, Everything's Better in Texas.

What is your personal opinion on BSL? Do you think that the blame should be on the deed, not the breed? or do you think that certain breeds do have tendencies that are breed specific?

Was your dog found on the list of dogs that have been banned at one point in the U.S.?

Let us know what you think, we'd love to hear from you!

Puppy Love Dog Boutique Barking Blogger
-Sebastian's Corner


  1. I blame the owner. Snakes and monkeys are dangerous too if owner allows them to be a problem. To be responsible means to be proactive in your training not reactive as a dog owner

  2. I agree, irresponsible ownership can ruin any dog.

  3. Discrimination in any form is wrong. You can't judge a book by it's cover and you can't judge a dog by it's breed. Simple rules we've all been taught all our lives.

  4. Amen to all of that. Couldn't agree more!